"Sheltering the Creative Spirit"

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Taos, New Mexico USA








                        Foreword by Vine Deloria, Jr.

                        Introduction by John Nizalowski

John Nichols

            My Not So Distant Doppelganger

Mary Ann Torrence

            “Isn’t This Just the Life?”

José R. Maríinez

            El Abuelo of Hispanic Literary Characters

Imogene Bolls

            Poetry in the Aspens

Vine Deloria, Jr.

            Reflections from a Dusty Road:

            Frank Waters, Time, and the Indians

William Edelen

            Frank Waters, the Man Who Rekindled the Inner Light

Thomas L. Lyon

            Frank Waters: Beginning Questions

Marilyn Callan

            Frank Waters: The Unmet Friend
T. N. Luther

            Frank Waters’ Collected Works:

            Discoveries Since Tanner

Rudolfo Anaya

            Myth-Consciousness in Frank Waters

Alexander Blackburn

            The Mythology of the Planet

Philip Davis

            Frank’s Park

Arthur Bachrach

            Frank Waters and the Land

Joseph Gordon

            Shining Mountains

Mark Rossi

            Remembering One Hundred Years

Denise Chavez

            Passion, Obsession, and Enlightenment in the Desert:

            Frank Waters’ The Yogi of Cockroach Court and

            The Lizard Woman

Linda Lizut Helstern

            Mixedbloods: Stereotypes and Inversion in The

            Yogi of Cockroach Court

Tony Hillerman

            A Canadian Experience with Frank Waters; Student

            On One End of the Log, Teacher on the Other

Emily Plec

            Frank Waters’ Ecofeminist Sensibility

R. Gray Kampfe

            Here’s to You, Frank

Patrick Burns

            Mystery and Growing Myths Surrounding a

            Waters Heroine

Jack Copeland

            Adapting to Adaptation:

            The Woman Otowi Crossing as Screenplay

John Nizalowski

            Journey to the World Mountain:

            Frank Waters’ The Woman at Otowi Crossing

            And Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge

Cynthia Stacey

            Frank Waters the Man: A Chance Meeting

Barbara Waters




Vine Deloria, Jr., Golden, Colorado


Anniversaries often remind us of our mortality.  Can it have been this many years?  What is there left now to do in the time remaining?  Too often such celebrations are packed with dignitaries who extol the virtues of the man or occasion and instruct us on little things we might have missed.  We feel unworthy that we did not pay closer attention, but there is nothing to do except make resolutions to do better and, perhaps someday, reach the exalted status of the dignitary.

The centennial celebration of the life of Frank Waters did not fall into this pattern. Dignitaries galore there were, but on closer examination they were friends of Frank who felt confident that somewhere in the shadows of the mountains he was listening, ready to engage us in further discussion over what he really meant and how he appreciated the warmth of the memories we were recalling.  There were seniors who once drank with him in local bars and teenagers who knew him only by reputation from readings in American Studies and literature classes.  But neither longevity nor youth inhibited people from meeting each other, discussing their favorite books or passages, and sharing while creating new memories.

The setting was perfect.  Adjacent to the porch of the Mabel Dodge Luhan house, a place where Frank must have spent countless hours with some of the older participants, there was an authenticity that could not have been achieved elsewhere.  The final barbeque picnic at Frank and Barbara’s home was more crowded than at the Luhan house because we were joined by many local people who could not attend the sessions but who felt so much at home that they had no hesitation in joining the closing event of the weekend.  Between sessions, side trips to the plaza only enhanced our appreciation of the man as we realized it was this setting that enveloped him as he sat, day after day, capturing the essence of the Southwest in his typewriter.  No matter where we went, what we saw, or how we responded to the area, we could not exhaust the feeling that here was a place which had made the man while the man was giving the time and place an immortality it richly deserved.

The presentations included in this book range from intimate to technical.  Taken together at the centennial, they gave us a new picture of Frank–not the writer, or even the person, but what he did to enrich our lives.  It was a nice, fuzzy feeling that lingers yet in our memories.  There was, to be sure, enough humor to keep our hearts light; and one could imagine Frank, a twinkle in his eyes, absorbing the puns and jests while planning his response, thereby lifting the discussion to even greater heights.  So much good cheer, so much appreciation, so much a sense of the permanency of the human spirit.

In private conversations heard and overhead there seemed to be an air of determination that if we had not yet read one of his novels or nonfiction works, it was time to explore Frank’s offerings on a much deeper basis.  The novels might really be philosophical, the nonfiction books might be novellas of history, shaped and given a depth they would not otherwise have achieved as formal historical writings. Most striking was a comment that floated from the cluster of people discussing the presentations.  “What an interesting audience” will remain a hallmark of the gathering.  It was as if the listeners also were speaking, eager to teach and learn.  Rows of chairs were the only separation between speakers and audience.

The selections in this book cover so much of Frank; yet they fall short of the actual emotion felt by everyone that this gathering was more than a centennial celebration.  It was as if we were all engaged in a dramatic presentation of a life fully lived, and our task later would be to build on what we had been given this weekend to enrich our own lives.  We departed reluctantly because we also knew that the magic spell would be broken and never again would we share the pure delight of the fellowship this centennial had given us.  As we left for home, we came to understand that this gathering had made us better people through the outpouring of ourselves in an uninhibited expression of joy felt aroused by these multi-faceted reminiscences of a life so well lived.





RUDOLFO ANAYA:  Author of poetry, folklore, novels; regarded as father of modern Hispanic

ARTHUR BACHRACH:  Former psychology professor, Arizona State; Environmental Stress Dept. Director, Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda; owner, Moby Dickens Bookshop, Taos; nonfiction author.

ALEXANDER BLACKBURN:  Professor emeritus of English, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; founding editor Writers’ Forum; author of fiction and nonfiction; literary critic.

IMOGENE BOLLS:  Poet; professor emerita, Wittenberg University; author of three poetry books, 600

PATRICK BURNS:  Singer; songwriter; guitarist; Taos music teacher; editor, annotator In the Shadow of Los Alamos: Selected Writings of Edith Warner; Frank Waters Foundation creative writing residency.

MARILYN CALLAN:  Former careers in management, librarianship; national park ranger; journal writer;  IONS member; interests: natural history, earth’s environment, spiritual truths revealed through living.

DENISE CHAVEZ:  Author of Face of an Angel and Loving Pedro Infante; English teacher, New Mexico State University; actress; playwright; organizer of Border Book Festival.

JACK COPELAND:  Practicing radiologist; former bank director; former owner Copeland-Rutherford Fine Arts Gallery, Santa Fe; Otowi screenplay completed.

PHILIP DAVIS:  Colorado environmentalist; writer, with essays in Weber Studies, South Dakota Review, and read on radio station KRZA, Alamosa; book-in-progress, essays about upper Rio Grande region.

VINE DELORIA, JR.:  Sioux Indian; former executive director of National Congress of American Indians; author; former professor, University of Colorado, Boulder, and University of Arizona.

WILLIAM EDELEN:  Formerly adjunct professor of religion at University of Puget Sound; ordained   Presbyterian and Congregational minister for more than 30 years; columnist; spiritual leader.

JOE GORDON:  Professor emeritus, Colorado College; former director of C.C. Southwest Studies; author.

LINDA HELSTERN:  Former administrator, Southern Illinois University; English teacher, University of Texas-Pan American; papers, essays, poetry widely presented and published; received dissertation leading award.

TONY HILLERMAN:  Author, fiction and nonfiction, mainly fictional mysteries dealing with Navajo

R. GRAY KAMPFE:  Language, Reading, and Culture M.A., University of Arizona, Tucson; Fellow,    Humanities Research Center (subject Spud Johnson); writer; critical theory educator.

TAL LUTHER:  Antiquarian bookman; author of Custer High Spots: A Guide, Collecting Taos Authors, Collecting Santa Fe Fictional Authors.

THOMAS LYON:  Critic; author; editor, professor emeritus, Utah State University; former editor Western American Literature.

JOSÉ MARTÍNEZ:  Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder; fiction writer; columnist; fiction award winner; writing workshop facilitator.

JOHN NICHOLS:  Author, fiction and nonfiction; photographer; screenwriter; former University of New Mexico teacher.

JOHN NIZALOWSKI:  Lecturer in composition, creative writing, comparative mythology, Mesa State College, Grand Junction, Colorado; author, articles, multi-genre book Hooking the Sun; biography-in-progress.

EMILY PLEC:  Assistant professor of speech communication, Western Oregon University; Ph.D.; teaching, research, and writing areas include rhetoric, intercultural and environmental communication, social justice.

HOLLY REED:  Freelance photographer, commercial and fine art; advertising, photojournalism major, University of Texas; marathon runner; former piano teacher.  

MARK ROSSI:  Tucson sculptor; painter; printmaker; naturalist; treasurer, vice president, Frank Waters Foundation. 

CYNTHIA STACEY:  North Carolina singer; guitarist; songwriter; recording studio owner; CD release Serve Love; raised in Seminole Indian village.

MARY ANN TORRENCE:  Former owner, teacher, Athena Montessori School, Austin; Department of Human Resources recognition as “A Friend of Texas;” Frank Waters Foundation vice president; former piano teacher, accompanist.           

BARBARA WATERS:  Frank Waters’ widow; former English teacher; psychotherapist; journalist; author, Celebrating the Coyote; editor; president, Frank Waters Foundation.  

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